Oregon City, OR – On Saturday, October 29, 2016, the Clackamas Community College Cougars hosted the NWAC’s Southern Region Cross Country Championships. In Cross Country, the last Saturday in October finds 1000s of collegiate student-athletes all across the US racing “conference” meets, and the Lakers from Southwestern joined them running strong with nearly all making improvements.
Seven collegiate teams and about 90 harriers competed first in a Men’s then Women’s event at 11am and 12 noon respectively. Freshman William Owens led the Laker Men with a time of 28:58 for 3 loops of the 8000 meter, slippery & grassy, but mostly flat course. Freshman Braden Walters raced with Will through 2 miles before slipping and falling. He recovered and finished in 30:19. A pair nearly closed the gap to Braden. Sophomores Colby Gillette crossed the line in 30:41 just ahead of Cole Kreutzer who showed his pure track speed passing several to finish just behind Colby in 30:56. Remarkably, Freshman Dallin Mortensen flew back from participating in his sister’s wedding in Utah that morning, made it to the race, and finished next in 31:34. 2 more Freshman followed for the Lakers. Niall Meeks finished in 32:08, and Cody Harkins improved his 8k by more than a minute with 35:06. Flu-like systems stopped Sophomore Joseph Dawes out on the course in the latter half of the race, but he regrouped and finished in 39:52.
The Laker Women came off the line aggressively in a small event of about 35 student-athletes making 2 loops of the Cougar’s 5000 meter home course. Freshman Breanna Mariscal ran near even splits to finish first for the squad in 22:09 two steps ahead of Sophomore Nikkol Ortiz in 22:11. The Lakers’ greatest improvement came again from Nikkol who ran out wonderfully aggressive in the first mile in 6:40 only falling off that pace slightly to finish 3:15 faster than in this event a year ago in better conditions. Sophomore YiMei Kerr also slipped and fell twice during the race nearly making it back to her teammates that she’d paced with most of the race to finish in 22:23. Emily Rose earned her first collegiate mark finishing 27:21. Madison Rodriguez did not finish (DNF) due to medical restrictions but will race with the women in the NWAC Championships at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington on November 12th. Complete results can be found at DirectAthletics.com and nwacsports.org.